Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series highlighting the local impact of Trump’s policies in key counties in MI, PA, WI, and FL.
An ongoing lawsuit — supported by the Trump Administration — winding its way through a federal appeals court has the potential to dismantle the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, upending the economic security and well-being of millions of Americans in the process. In Macomb County, Michigan, that could spell disaster.
During the 2019 open enrollment period, over 30,000 Macomb residents enrolled in a plan on the exchanges, and since the passage of the ACA, over 58,000 residents have gained coverage under the law’s Medicaid expansion.
If successful, many of these Macomb residents could see their health coverage stripped away.
The lawsuit was filed in 2018 by a group of 18 Republican attorneys general and 2 Republican governors, after the Trump Administration attempted — and failed — to push a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act through Congress. It is being considered by a panel of three judges — two of whom are Republicans — on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The verdict reached will make or break crucial components of the law, including regulations protecting people with pre-existing conditions, and the ACA’s Medicaid expansion which covers approximately 12 million Americans.
“Remember that the kinds of provisions here that would be struck down if there’s no severability are, for example, the provision about when you can be denied or charged more insurance for preexisting conditions,” Attorney Douglas Letter said during a hearing in July.
In 2018, over 250,000 Michiganders were enrolled in an Affordable Care Act exchange plan and 637,000 Michigan adults gained access to health care through the law’s Medicaid expansion.
Of the Michiganders enrolled in the exchanges last year, 86% received tax credits to help pay insurance premiums and 43% received cost sharing reduction subsidies to lower out-of-pocket medical costs.
Between 2010 and 2016, Michigan Medicare beneficiaries saved over $1 billion on prescription drug costs due to the Affordable Care Act. In 2016 alone, over 200,000 Michigan residents received a combined $266 million in prescription drug discounts, about $1,300 per beneficiary.
In 2015, 1.7 million non-elderly people in Michigan had a pre-existing condition, which the Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover.
The lawsuit would not only undermine all the progress Michigan has made since the legislation was signed into law, but could also sow political disaster for the President. In 2016, President Trump won Michigan by flipping swing counties, such as Macomb, which previously voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012. Trump won Michigan by approximately 11,000 votes in 2016.